Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday announced restoration of the special family pension for widows of government employees killed by extremists.
The ‘Special Pension Scheme’ was revoked by the erstwhile Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP government in 2016.
Amarinder announced that the pension under the scheme would be made available to the widow till her death as against the earlier provision of it being provided until her remarriage.
Acceding to a request from the families of the police martyrs, the Chief Minister assured them that they would also get the Red Cards, so far being issued only to civilian victims of terrorism, with immediate effect.
Noting that the Punjab Police had a history of gallantry and sacrifice, Amarinder recalled that Punjab had witnessed a tough phase during militancy and peace was restored after great sacrifices.
The Chief Minister also promised the martyrs’ families that their demand for posting of their children, recruited in the armed police, near their home districts would be sympathetically considered by the government.
He made the announcements on the eve of the Martyrs Day at the Punjab Police Headquarters here.
Amarinder offered tributes to the martyrs of the police force and, for the first time in Punjab police history, lit the eternal flame, besides interacting with families of martyrs.
Pointing out that the state had a total of 1,600 martyrs, including SPOs (special police officers) and Home Guards, the Chief Minister reiterated his government’s commitment to the welfare of the force and their families, including the families of the martyred police personnel.
“The Special Family Pension, for which necessary directions had already been issued to the DGP, will be given to widow or mother of the deceased government employee killed by or during action against extremists,” he said.
The pension amount will be equal to the last pay drawn at the time of the death of the personnel, he said.
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Observing that police personnel work in extremely tough conditions, at times working 24 hours at a stretch and spending prolonged periods away from their families, Amarinder Singh lamented that they lacked even basic facilities.
“Families of police personnel killed in action often live a life of poverty and destitution,” he said.
Pointing out that his government had already given ex-gratia compensation and jobs to children of some of the policemen killed by extremists and will continue to do so, the Chief Minister further assured the police personnel and their families that more welfare initiatives for them would be announced over the next few months.
The Martyrs Memorial, built at the entrance of Punjab Police Headquarters, is a tribute by the Punjab Police to the memory of its martyrs.
Director General of Police Suresh Arora said he got the idea to install the Martyrs Flame with the names of martyrs on the wall during a visit to NYPD Headquarters in New York.
Punjab Police have over 70,000 personnel on its rolls.
–Inputs from IANS